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Sonoma school janitor suspected of child molestation

A longtime custodian at Sassarini Elementary School in Sonoma was arrested early Friday on suspicion of touching a student's genitals while in a campus bathroom.

Richard Piskulic, 53, of Vallejo was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on Friday morning on suspicion of lewd acts on a minor and annoying or molesting a minor. Bail was set at $100,000.

School and Sonoma Valley District officials were notified at approximately 6 a.m. of the arrest, said Loyal Carlon, director of human resources for the 4,600-student district.

Carlon and Superintendent Louann Carlomagno met with teachers and staff at the Fifth Street West campus before school began Friday. Additional staff were called in to support students and employees, he said.

"Shock and surprise" described staff reaction to Piskulic's arrest, Carlon said.

"It's an emotional time for them," he said.

"It was someone they have known for a long time," Carlon added. "It's disbelief. This is an allegation at this point."

Piskulic has worked for Sonoma Valley District for more than 30 years, Carlon said. His title is senior custodian and he currently is the only janitor assigned to the campus. He works from midmorning when students are on campus until after they leave campus, Carlon said.

The incident under investigation surfaced Thursday evening when Sonoma police were notified of an allegation of sexual misconduct involving Piskulic and a male student. The student told his mother that the custodian had touched his genitals while he was in one of the school bathrooms.

Detectives from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office were called into the investigation and interviewed both the student and his mother, according to the Sheriff's Office. Detectives interviewed Piskulic at his Vallejo home and he was arrested at 2:45 a.m. School officials were alerted at about 6 a.m.


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